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Phoenix Dog Training Canine Conduct Disorders Misunderstood?

Shotzie the Golden Retriever lives surrounded by major league professional athletes in her Southern California home, but for many years, she was hardly a team player. Fearful and aggressive toward strangers who came to visit, Shotzie wouldn’t even go on walks without becoming skittish and losing control of her bowel and bladder. Her owner tried just about everything and was at the end of his rope, until he found a dog savior.

Expert & Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist buy Daily Best Chews Cats online , M.S., came to the canine’s rescue. After spending time with Shotzie’s owner, Glatzel started a behavior modification program where he slowly introduced new people to the anxious golden and conditioned Shotzie to respond with behaviors other than growling or snapping. He encouraged the dog to sit or offer a paw and rewarded her with a treat for doing so. Glatel, the Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist also recommended a psychiatric medication, similar to human medications such as Prozac, for the stressed-out pooch to help her get accustomed to busy streets and loud noises.

“It’s really hard to predict the triggers, and you can’t prevent the anxiety,” Glatzel says. “So we talked to the owner about teaching him another behavior the dog could do besides becoming startled or running away, such as sitting.” He adds, “The medication helped speed up the process. Rather than months or years, it only took a few weeks.”

This type of “” is becoming more common for dealing with canine behavioral woes — and for good reason.

Increasingly, pet owners, behaviorists, veterinarians and the research community have come to believe that many canine behavioral problems, such as aggressive behavior or biting, destructive chewing and elimination troubles, have their roots in the emotional health of dogs. When that emotional health is unwell, your dog may need the help of a human psychiatrist equivalent. That’s where applied clinical animal behaviorists and veterinary behaviorists step in.

What Applied Animal Behaviorists Do

Q: What is an Applied Animal Behaviorist?

A: The term “Behaviorist” is misused in many situations. Some professionals refer to themselves as behaviorists but they are using the term inappropriately. Professionals without an upper level degree that specializes in behavior should rightly be classified as counselors. An Animal Behaviorist has upper level degrees (MS or PhD.) In most cases this is over six to eight years of formal education specializing in psychology, ethology, biology, zoology, endocrinology, neurobiology, physical anatomy, canine physiology and kinesthetics, advanced training in the normal and abnormal behaviors of animals, the underlying disease states that may contribute to behavioral changes, the psychology of learning and in therapeutic behavioral medicines. An Animal Behaviorist can evaluate a pet’s behavioral problems, can work with your pet’s Veterinarian to help potentially diagnose medical problems that may be contributing to these behavioral problems and can recommend therapeutic medicines that may benefit these animals. An Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist will often time work very closely with your pet’s Veterinarian to treat and help the “whole” animal. A Behaviorist is qualified to develop and help you implement a behavior modification protocol and treatment plan for your pet.

Q: What is the difference between an Animal Behaviorist like yourselves and a Veterinarian Behaviorist?

A: Veterinarian Behaviorists have nothing to do with any actual training of dogs. A Veterinarian who has a specialty in Behavioral Medicine concerns themselves primarily with medicine, and has only as little as one year of behavioral training with the emphasis on psychotropic medicines. This is also a very new field in its infancy that has only been around for as little as 4 years. On the other hand, An Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist, like those employed by TLC K9 Academy have had much more extensive education and training that takes at least 6 to 8 years in ALL aspects of behavior, not just behavioral medicine. The Profession of Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorists is not a new field. This type of real behaviorist has been around for many decades, and is considered THE definitive choice for expert behavioral help, treatment and advice for you and your pet. TLC K9 Academy Behaviorists are also Master Certified Dog Trainers with many additional years of education, training, and experience, giving you and your pet the absolute best of both worlds.

Q: What is your “success rate” and do you guarantee results?

A: A pet owner should be cautious of any person who states that they “guarantee” fixing your pets behavior problems. Animal behavior is complex and results from a combination of genetics, prior experiences and learning, and the current environmental situation that the animal is placed in. There are many behaviors that we can modify and improve, some that we can learn how to work with, manage and control and/or prevent, and some that we can fully resolve. The results we see can vary depending on the severity of the particular animal/behavioral problem, the owner’s ability to dedicate the time and effort into behavioral modifications and the motivational state of the pet. So, in short, success is not guaranteed, but always our goal. Most problems are helped and in remission in 1 or 2 appointments, some need additional follow up.

Q: Are behavioral problems simply training issues?

A: There are some pets that would benefit largely from some simple training, but many behavior problems require much more than that. Dog Trainers are not Animal Behaviorists with Advanced Training and Upper Level Degrees, (MS or PhD.) There are no requirements to be a dog trainer, and in Arizona anyone can call himself or herself a dog trainer with no training, education or experience. Animals, like people can develop a number of fears, anxieties, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviors and many types of aggression that require an in-depth history and actual behavioral modifications (not training) to help resolve them. Sometimes trainers will employ aversive or punishment methods in attempts at resolving some of these behavioral problems which may actually aggravate the problem further. Training can however be an integral part of behavioral modifications, and often a good trainer will be employed or recommended to help the owner work with behavior modification techniques once they have been prescribed and explained in the initial consult. TLC K9 Academy is the only training company that has a REAL Behaviorist on staff. Many trainers wrongly call themselves a behaviorist without the proper training and are really just simple dog trainers who often make serious mistakes with your pet’s well being and with your pet’s behavior. Bill Glatzel is a Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist and specialist in difficult and severe behavioral problems in pets, such as fears, anxieties, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behaviors along with various types and severity levels of aggression.

Glatzel says that applied clinical animal behaviorists are the dog world’s equivalent to psychiatrists for humans. But since our dogs can’t talk, it’s usually the pet owners who meet first with the “shrink” and provide a history of the dog’s behaviors. Applied Clinical Animal behaviorists use this information, medical records, what they know of the animal’s behavior in the wild and how the species communicates with other animals or humans to make a diagnosis.

Once the diagnosis is made, the behaviorist lays out the options for treatment. “Every home situation is different. Every dog is different,” says Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist Bill Glatzel, M.S., who practices in Phoenix, Arizona. “What is done with one family isn’t necessarily done with another. You have to tailor your approach to situations and people. You have to get the whole family involved.”

Problems Behaviorists Treat: There are several common problems that cause dog owners to seek out an Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist. The referrals sometimes come from their dog’s general veterinarian or other dog training or behavior professionals.

  • Aggression The most common issue Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorists deal with is aggression in dogs, Glatzel says. Some aggression in dogs is natural, such as territorial aggression in canines that are allowed the run of the house or the yard. But aggression that is fear- or anxiety-based is an individual temperament issue, usually caused by a flawed system of transmitting nerve impulses within the dog. “The messages don’t get from one to the other part of the brain,” Glatzel says, who has specialized postgraduate training in Canine Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychobiology.  In cases where fear and anxiety are the result of a chemical imbalance, medication may be part of the solution in addition to behavior modification and training he says.
  • Separation anxiety This tends to be the second most common issue Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorists treat in dogs, Glatzel says. Separation anxiety is often a situation in which a dog becomes anxious or nervous in instances where they are separated from their primary attachment figure — typically an owner. Separation anxiety often results in destructive behavior. Dogs will sometimes chew or scratch at furniture or doors, or may even destroy items left in the home. Glatzel says Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorists try to desensitize the dog to being left alone by decreasing how much the owner interacts with the dog in the house and teaching the owner to be low-key when they leave and return. Sometimes medication is needed.
  • Elimination disorders These include elimination of waste inside the house and territorial marking. Behaviorists have to get to the root of the problem. Sometimes it can be as simple as a bad habit that the dog has formed and needs to break. Other times, marking, in particular, can be caused by aggression between multiple dogs in a house.

FDA-approved Medications Recommending psychiatric meds for dogs is a last resort, Glatzel says, and is only considered after other forms of behavior modification have failed. The behavior modification techniques often include desensitization of the dog to a certain trigger and then counter-conditioning the pet to react with different behavior. These methods are similar to teaching humans how to overcome their fears — such as a fear of flying.

When medications are called for, we have three types of psychiatric medications approved for behavioral uses in dogs by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. These three medications are as follows:

  • Fluoxetine, a generic form of Prozac, has been approved to treat separation anxiety and aggression in dogs.
  • Clomicalm, aka clomipramine hydrochloride, has also been approved to treat separation anxiety and aggression in dogs.
  • Selegiline (sold as Anipryl for veterinary usage) has been approved for treating cognitive dysfunction in dogs — akin to Alzheimer’s disease in older dogs.

Glatzel says that early intervention is the key to solving your dog’s behavior problems. “Behavior problems are just like any other habit. The more we’re allowed to practice bad behavior, the better we get at it,” he says. “For the dog’s well-being — as well as the owner’s — you need to catch it early.”

Bill Glatzel, M.S., Applied Clinical Animal Behaviorist is the Executive Director & Head of Research for (ACCBS) Arizona Center for Canine Behavioral Studies), and is the Founder and Director of TLC K9 Academy, a National Dog Training Company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Specializing in Difficult and Severe Behavior Disorders in Dogs.  Glatzel also heads up a Team of Professionals who teaches and certifies trainers throughout the world in the latest Science Based Dog Training and Behavior Modification Methods for helping dogs today.  For more information contact Bill Glatzel toll free at 1-888-502-DOGS (3647) or email


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This post was written by editor on April 28, 2011

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